President Clark Gilbert and his wife, Christine, gave the first devotional for BYU-Idaho of the new year.
Sister Gilbert's talk, "Defending and Building Mothers," discussed the importance of attentive mothers in the home and in the world.
She quoted Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, "'there is nothing more important in this world than participating so directly in the world and glory of God.' I have come to witness this working within our family in my mothering role," she said.
Sister Gilbert compared being a mother and raising children in today's world to the Nephites and Gadianton robbers in the Book of Mormon. She said, in the story, the Lord instructed the Nephites to prepare to protect themselves in the center of their lands - by gathering together and waiting until they were attacked.
"Just like the Nephites prepared in the very center of their lands for the enemy, so must we prepare at the very center of our homes and families by building and strengthening the role of mothers," she said.
Sister Gilbert also counseled the young women at BYU-Idaho to immerse themselves in education.
"You have a great opportunity to develop attributes essential for mothers," she said. "But you also have the opportunity to be thoughts about your choice to be a mother."
She urged the young men to learn how to support, defend and encourage the women in their lives by respecting and showing gratitude to them for all they do.
"This is the perfect time to prepare at your very center by building, lifting and strengthening each other," Sister Gilbert said. "It is my prayer that we can work together to defend and build mothers." President Gilbert followed Sister Gilbert's remarks with his talk addressing the need for education and the struggle for perfection he has seen BYU-I students bare.
President Gilbert listed five types of students he has encountered on campus that need help in their struggle with education and perfection: The Doubter, The Student with Misplaced Zeal, The Student Who is Going It Alone, The Selfish Student and The Prideful Student.
In an interview with BYU-Idaho Radio, President Gilbert said everyone is represented in the five students he outlines.
"A lot of those came from conversations I've had with students on this campus, students around the country in Pathway and online degree programs, students who think everything is going well and don't realize that they could do so much more with their education," he said. "They're really pieced together from so many students that I've seen, but I think as people listen to the talk they won't say, 'Oh I'm that student, or I'm this student,' but maybe they'll see a little bit of every one of the profiles that I present in each of us."
He said The Doubter Student is someone who understands the value of education, but does not believe messages and quotes from apostles pertaining to education apply to him.
"I've met these students here on this campus, who weren't sure whether they had what it takes to succeed in college," President Gilbert said. "The Doubter must learn to resist those feelings of doubt."
He compared The Doubter to the story of Moses being tempted by Satan to see himself only as a product of his earthly circumstances, rather than seeing his divine heritage and potential.
"Moses learned to realize he was a Son of God, endowed with divine potential," President Gilbert said. "President Hinckley declared to the youth of the Church: ‘You have the potential to become anything to which you set your mind.'"
Next, President Gilbert described a student who missed the connected between otherwise righteous endeavors and their formal education.
He said a Student with Misplaced Zeal could be a future mother who doesn't see her schooling as important because she feels she only attends BYU-Idaho to get married.
"I would encourage you young women to consider your academic stewardship prayerfully," he said.
He reminded students of times when prophets of the LDS Church have urged sisters to pursue and education in order to be able to provide for their families if need be, but also to teach their children and help them grow and learn.
The next student President Gilbert mentioned was The Student Who is Going It Alone. He said this is a student who views academic experience indifferently and is happy to just get by.
"You need to understand that this is actually just one step in the future path that the Lord has been preparing all along," President Gilbert said. "Indeed, if you truly understood what the Lord expects, you would realize He needs you to keep working even though you have made it this far."
President Gilbert also outlined a Selfish Student - one who only wants to engage if there is something of personal benefit for them.
"Education and our mighty struggle for perfection are not for our own glory, by must be fundamentally connected to helping others," he said.
Last, he noted the Prideful Student - someone who views themselves as superior and possibly make others feel less so.
"Learning can be used in an attempt to elevate ourselves above others," President Gilbert said. "Learning can also lead to entitlement, a presumption that we deserve something more because of our education."
President Gilbert said he hopes people can see opportunities to rise above those challenges through increased conversion and commitment to the Lord.
"It is my prayer that you will see this opportunity and use your time at BYU-Idaho to lay that foundation of a lifetime of improvement, growth and development," he said.
Listen to the devotional talks below or click here for video and a transcript of Sister Gilbert's talk or here for video and a transcript of President Gilbert's talk.